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Security in readiness to act as Shigatse Tibetans lined up to file past China’s Panchen Lama

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov19’23) – Serious-looking security personnel stood in readiness to handle anything that might breach the peace and embarrass the authorities as Tibetans stood in line to file past the Chinese government-appointed 11th Panchen Lama Gyaltsen Norbu at Tashilhunpo Monastery in Tibet’s Shigatse City on Nov 13, said a freemalaysiatoday.com report Nov 19. The report did not venture to guess why security was so tight, but suggested that readers find it out themselves.

“You can, and should, do some research on the Panchen Lamas, and you’ll find some interesting stories of intrigue and geopolitics mixed with religion and statecraft regarding the current Lama. I won’t spoil your pleasure by telling you too much.”

The reporter, Adzhar Ibrahim, did not know the “Panchen Lama” and apparently anything about him when he first saw the latter enter the monastery. He has said, “The day we visited the monastery the Panchen Lama happened to be ‘in residence’ there. While in a queue to enter the monastery, we saw a cavalcade of big 4x4s going in, with the leading car carrying a monk in saffron who smiled and waved at the crowd. That was the Panchen Lama, though I didn’t know it then.”

Visiting the city as a tourist – for journalists are banned from Tibet without being especially approved and escorted by Chinese government officials – the reporter has noted: “The queue was long but orderly. There were serious-looking men and women, some in uniform and some not, managing the crowd. Everything was peaceful, though I could see that these people were prepared to handle anything that might breach the peace and embarrass the authorities.”

The report also indicated the officials’ hunger for foreign presence at the public blessing event. It said, “Apparently, the authorities noticed we were a group of foreigners and wanted to make a special deal out of it. Hence the special efforts to speed us through the line, and the ultra-special opportunity to take a group photo with the Panchen Lama himself.”

The report has also noted: “Given that the Dalai Lama is in exile in India, and not likely to return to Tibet, this makes the Panchen Lama the most important Tibetan leader. While his official residence is in Shigatse, he’s more often in Beijing though.”

The report suggested that readers “do some research on the Panchen Lamas” themselves because the 11th Panchen Lama Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, recognized and proclaimed by the Dalai Lama, was kidnapped and disappeared by the Chinese government way back in 1995 when he was just six years old, installing Gyaltsen Norbu in his place.

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